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The Naked Truth About Nude Art Modeling

June 30, 2018 in Blogs

By Robin Eileen Bernstein, Salon

“Have you ever been intrigued by what it’s like to be a nude art model?” the email from my school asked

Over the years I’ve scrutinized, squinted at and visually dissected every inch of easily more than 100 naked humans. That’s because my passion is figure drawing, so I rack up a lot of hours staring at unclothed adults. Yet these men and women — old and young, all shapes, sizes and ethnicities — whose bodies are exposed from every angle, whose nude images grace my walls, remain unknown to me. I rarely know their names.

Who are these people who bare all to a room full of strangers? How does it feel to pose under unforgiving lights as students mentally measure the distance from your clavicle to pubis? I often wonder what it takes to do a job most know little about yet is essential to rendering the human figure in art.

My first model was not nude and not even human. As a kid I relentlessly drew Astro Boy, my favorite TV cartoon character, which made me an anime fangirl decades before Pokémon. By the time I took my first life drawing class at 17, I was hooked and, in the decades that followed, I took classes at various schools when time allowed. It’s one of the few activities in which I truly feel like I’m “in the zone.”

There’s a routine: A model poses on a platform surrounded by students at easels or in chairs. It usually starts with a series of dynamic gestures, one-minute poses so named because the goal is to capture the movement. There might be several five-, 10- and 20-minutes poses in a typical three-hour session. After every 20 minutes, there’s a break when the model dons a robe. If a pose continues beyond that, it’s marked on the platform with tape so the model can resume the same position.

I’ve asked myself if I’d ever have the guts to pose nude for a class. Twice I’d done it clothed —  once while pregnant — when the model was a no-show and volunteers were needed. And in my early …read more


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'Fascism Is at the Door Step': Michael Moore Asks Bill Maher If People Are Ready to Die to Protect Democracy from Trump

June 30, 2018 in Blogs

By Michael Moore, Raw Story

Moore laid out what he sees as the best way to fight Donald Trump—all out war and mass resistance to counter Republicans who will stop at nothing to control the majority of Americans.

Bill Maher has long been warning that Donald Trump is instituting a slow-moving coup to undermine American democracy.

He found a likeminded guest in Michael Moore, who appeared on HBO'sReal Time on Friday night.

Moore laid out what he sees as the best way to fight Donald Trump—all out war and mass resistance to counter Republicans who will stop at nothing to control the majority of Americans.

“They are relentless, they are motherf*ckers to the core,” he said. “This is the beauty and the genius of Trump and why you have to step back for a second and admire him the way Patton admired Rommel. When Trump says he's going to do something he's going to do it. He is relentless… and we never act like that on any of the things we say we believe in.”

Moore said that he thinks Americans can stop Trump, but only if they're all-in.

“Fascism is at the door step,” he said. “People are afraid to use the word, but I think we have got to be very serious about this. FDR and Churchill defeated fascism. And one of those people was in a wheelchair and the other was a drunkard, to be kind… if they defeated fascism, look at what we've got.”

Moore compared the fight to what Martin Luther King faced, and said we have much better odds now. King started getting serious death threats at age 26 and lived with them for the rest of his life while raising four young children. Is the resistance willing to do the same?

“What are people willing to commit to? What would you give your life for?” he asked. “What would you be willing to actually put yourself on the line for? That moment is now. We are going to lose our democracy if we haven't already. We have no choice, my friends. We have to rise up.”

Watch below.


<Img align="left" border="0" height="1" width="1" alt="" …read more


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Trump’s Bellicose Trade Rhetoric May Nix the Benefits of His Corporate Tax Cut and End the Second-Longest Expansion

June 30, 2018 in Blogs

By Angelo Young, Salon

That may not be the recession looming out there in November, but we can see it from here.

Janet Yellen, the former head of the Federal Reserve who stepped down earlier this year, once declared that economic expansions don’t die of old age. Her remark has become a popular slogan among economists when they’re asked whether the U.S. is long overdue for a recession.

It’s not an absurd question. Since World War II, the average period of U.S. economic growth between recessions has been about five years, with the average recession lasting about 11 months. Nine years after the worst recession in 85 years ended, many watchers are wondering (some impatiently) how much longer this current long and slow expansionary period can continue.

All the indicators point to continued economic growth, at least for now. There's a significant danger, however, that President Trump's sustained trade bluster will generate headwinds offsetting any benefits realized by his corporate tax cuts.

On Thursday, the Department of Commerce announced the nation’s gross domestic product for the first three months of the year grew by two percent, a downgrade from earlier estimates but still higher than the same period in the previous two years. Wall Street firms are predicting the stimulus of GOP tax cuts that passed in December will boost second quarter GDP by as much as 4.5 percent.

The question is this: How much life is left in the current economic expansion, and will President Donald Trump’s hostile attitude toward trading partners cause the U.S. economy to contract?

Trade Wars Are Bad for Business

The Trump administration has lashed out at Mexico, Canada, China and the European Union by announcing a series of punitive trade measures it says are aimed at punishing countries for exploiting the U.S., but these threats have also rattled U.S. manufacturers and agricultural exporter who either depend on a supply of imported materials or access to foreign markets.

In addition to steel and aluminum tariffs announced by the administration earlier this year, the president has floated a 20 percent import tax on European cars, …read more


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As the Movement to Abolish ICE Gains Mainstream Support, Fox News Goes into Attack Mode

June 30, 2018 in Blogs

By Bobby Lewis, Media Matters

Fox has long led the media charge to defend ICE and its actions, frequently using the violent gang MS-13to demonize all immigrants.

Fox News is scrambling in response to the grass-roots movement to abolish Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), which has begun seeping into mainstream progressive and Democratic politics. On the evening of June 28, all three of the network’s prime-time shows aired segments attacking the Abolish ICE movement, as did Fox & Friends the next morning.

As the Trump administration is stepping up mass deportations, separating families at the U.S.-Mexico border, and interning immigrant children in cages, calls to abolish ICE have spread from a grass-roots Twitter phenomenon to the political mainstream. Multiple candidates for prominent elected positions have endorsed the movement, including New York congressional nominee Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a Democratic Socialist who ran on the issue leading up to her upset primary win over Rep. Joe Crowley (D-NY). Elected Democrats are also beginning to endorse the movement. In the House, three Democrats support abolishing ICE and a fourth, Rep. Mark Pocan (WI), introduced legislation to abolish ICE and investigate possibilities for “a humane immigration enforcement system.” And in the Senate, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) endorsed abolishing ICE, and Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) said, “We need to probably think about starting from scratch.” Even some ICE agents themselves have called for the agency to be dissolved.

Meanwhile, on Fox, the network’s stars were allied in their defense of ICE. After a brief update on the June 28 mass shooting at an Annapolis, MD, newspaper, Tucker Carlson — who uses his platform to promote white nationalism – opened his show by denouncing #AbolishICE as an “ideological revolution on the left” and fearmongering about the criminals and drugs that he claimed would flood the country without ICE. 

Sean Hannity suggested that members of “the left” are attacking ICE because special counsel Robert Mueller has produced “literally zero evidence that the president ever did anything wrong” in his investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, causing progressives to “unravel.

Laura Ingraham complained that “Occupy ICE protesters want to, again, make it impossible for our immigration investigators to do their jobs.” And she …read more


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Trump Prankster Claims He Got a Late Night Visit from the Secret Service — and Now He's on the Run

June 30, 2018 in Blogs

By Tom Boggioni, Raw Story

Howard Stern sidekick, 'Stuttering John,' may have gone too far this time

The comedian who pulled a prank on Donald Trump and duped the president into returning his call, live tweeted on Twitter Friday night that the Secret Service came to his door to talk to him, but that he refused to answer and now he claims he's on 'the lam.”

John Melendez, the former Howard Stern sidekick known as “Stuttering John,” launched a series of tweets making the claim, which given his history as a prankster, could also be an elaborate prank on on his followers or a publicity stunt while he's national news. It also seems curious that the Secret Service would wait so late at night to visit, so his claims should be taken with a grain of salt.

Nonetheless, he started off by tweeting, “Secret Service at my door. I guess my old friend Donald wants to continue this. Stay tuned.”

He then added, “Sectret [sic] service about to arrest me. Unbelievable! They should arrest Jared Kushner for putting the call through, shame on Donald Trump who has been a friend of mine for years.”

Melendez then claimed that he refused to answer his door, but that his neighbors told him his visitors “said they showed their badges.” He also stated that high profile attorney Michael Avenatti — who is representing adult actress Stormy Daniels — ” has agreed to consider repping me,” although the never publicity-shy Avenatti has yet to tweet anything affirming the claim.

Below are Melendez's tweets in chronological order.




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Why so Many Refugees from Central America?

June 30, 2018 in Economics

By Ted Galen Carpenter

Ted Galen Carpenter

The initial decision by the United States President Donald Trump
and his administration to separate families involved in alleged
illegal border crossings generated enormous controversy and
backfired spectacularly from a public relations standpoint. Mostly
lost in all the uproar, though, is needed scrutiny about why there
is another spike in the number of refugees from Central America
seeking haven in the United States. As with most mass migrations,
there is no single cause. Like previous generations of immigrants,
some see this country as an ideal land of opportunity and wish to
seize it. Also, others are not merely hoping to find better job
prospects but are trying to avoid outright destitution in their
home countries. Furthermore, other families are fleeing a horrid
level of gang violence that has engulfed some Central American

Developments are making the last factor increasingly salient.
The level of internal strife in areas of Honduras, Guatemala, and
El Salvador has made those countries some of the most chaotic and
violent outside of full-fledged war zones. President Trump has even
labeled the MS-13 gang, based in El Salvador, a threat to communities throughout the United
States. But MS-13 is only one of many street gangs and drug cartels
plaguing Central America’s so-called northern triangle.

The extent of the carnage is extraordinary. Four of the countries with the highest annual
murder rates in the world are located in Central America. Guatemala
ranks ninth, with 31.25 murders per 100,000 people. Belize ranks
sixth with 34.4, while Honduras comes in second with a rate of
63.75. But those countries seem almost peaceful compared to El
Salvador, which has the highest homicide rate in the world, 108. 64
per 100,000. Moreover, the nation with the fifth highest rate,
Venezuela with 57.15 homicides per 100,000, is adjacent to the

To put such rates into perspective, consider that the
Philippines, afflicted with a simmering local insurgency in the
south, ranks fortieth with a rate of 9.84. Even
Nigeria—despite the threat that the extremist Boko Haram
continues to pose—comes in forty-first, with 9.79. Finally,
Zimbabwe with its economic chaos has 6.74 murders per 100,000 and
comes in sixty-ninth. The United States claims eighty-first place
with 4.88 murders per 100,000 population. The Central American
countries are essentially in a league of their own, except for
places like Syria and Yemen which are experiencing full-blown civil

America has an emerging
humanitarian and security crisis in its own neighborhood that must
be addressed immediately.

Not surprisingly, sensible people might want to get their families out of such lethal environments.
According to the United …read more

Source: OP-EDS